PUBLISHED BY THE SOUTHEAST CONFERENCE, UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST
Volume 42, Number 3
"I Have a Joy, Joy, Joy, Joy ... Down In My Soul"
"Joy" was truly celebrated at Annual Conference this summer at Cullman!
Rev. Bob Kurtz, his staff and congregation are to be commended and thanked for
surrounding delegates (and all attendees) with truly joyous activities, atmosphere,
food and programming.
Everyone comes away from "Conference" with some special memory. As
the weekend closed, there were praises raised for the keynote speakers, Don Gall
and Bernice Powell Jackson. Many enjoyed the special music, singing, "hand-bell"
choir, and performances by the children.
Perhaps the most moving event of the weekend was the Service of
Communion on Saturday evening led by "Sozo" the Clown (a.k.a. the Rev. Mr. Karl
K. Whiteman, pastor of First United Church in Belvidere, TN) and assisted by
"Springs" (a.k.a. Barbara Everett, also of First UC in Belvidere).
Why a Clown? Karl explains, "My life as a Christian Clown began in 1985
with the formation of a 'liturgical-mime' Clown Troupe in Grandville, Michigan. At
that time, the same questions were raised ... The word CLOWN comes from the
Anglo-Saxon word 'clod,' which is a lump of earth. No matter how you interpret
the opening chapters of Genesis, it always comes out the same way. God loved a
clod, breathed life into it and people happened. The closest word in the New
Testament is the word for servant — lowly, unimportant, disrespected person who
did the work which no one else would do. Jesus calls us to be servants (or clowns)
[Matthew 20:26-28 & Mark 9:35] if we are to know what the kingdom of God is all
about. We are called to 'be fools for Christ's sake ...'
"Clowns somehow remind people that they are human, and that's all right!
As they use exaggerations and symbols to demonstrate some basic and essential
truths, they stand with the prophets of old who let people know that there are
important things and truths which should not be taken for granted. Jesus taught in
parables and the use of symbolic messages was evident throughout the ministry of
Jesus. The Clown Worship Experience seeks to use these techniques to center our
hearts and minds upon the message of God's love."
The Communion Service led by "SOZO" will remain in this writer's memory
for a long time to come.
Southeast Conference Organized Flood Response
After Hurricane Andrew, it was suggested that all UCC conferences establish
Disaster Response organizations for any emergency that can arise. Under the
direction of Ms. Linda Petrucelli of the United Church Board for World Ministries,
the Southeast Conference will use the newly developed organization as the
springboard for our disaster program.
The SEC Disaster Coordinator draws leadership from each association to
form a strong Disaster Response committee. This enables immediate, direct contact
and coordination to occur among the wider United Church of Christ, or local
churches and persons in need.
When the rains came, people wanted to help: calls came from everywhere.
Mitch Johnson, Lester Ariail and the Southeast Conference office began to sort it
out. With ecumenical partners, the Board of Directors and Southeast Conference
leadership, the following plan was adopted. Anne Ariail was named acting
coordinator of the 1994 UCC flood disaster response. An office was established at
933 Highland Terrace, Macon, Georgia, 31201-2118. Phone number, (912) 742-
4151. FAX (Ariail Financial Arrangement), (912) 742-3984. AFManagement has
also given us time on the computer.
David O'Rourke, our Partner Conference in Mission and Flood Coordinator
in Iowa, came to advise/organize and brought a $22,000 check from Iowa. David's
words of encouragement and wisdom are greatly appreciated as we experience his
truth: providing long-term assistance to crisis victims is crucial.
Our preparedness enables us together to affirm, "To Believe is to Care, to
Care is to Do" when emergencies arise. Thanks to all!!!
NOTE: What to know more? Want to help? See article UCC at Work in this
Conference Minister's Message
"Does Your Church Have a Future?"
is a question every congregation regularly faces, simply by being a church. It is
existential as to whether we are committed and evangel-outreaching-and-inclusive;
it is theological as to whether resurrection as Christ's Body is more realistic than
death, cynicism and anomie. The question is very real for many churches today.
As I have met with each of our Southeast Conference churches these six
years, I have approached every church very intentionally with this perspective-
question behind each meeting or visit, "Does this church have a future?" It is not a
judgmental or threatening approach; rather it is to hopefully discover with the
church those life-giving forces of faith and to identify and address the
blockages — in other words, it is to engage in transformation. It has always been my
conviction that God calls every church to be the resurrection community by being
inclusive (evangelism) and living into the future. As the writer of Hebrews states,
"let us lay aside every weight of sin that clings so closely (and) ... look to Jesus,
who for the joy set before him ..." Jesus' impact was described by a laywoman, "To
live as though what can be already is." Is there a future for your church?
However, churches are dying, some due to external causes but most often
by their own choice. Oh, no church would say that, but by what happens and
doesn't happen, they choose death. A few examples that indicate an attitude of
We don't want to be bigger than we are (i.e., we don't want anyone);
We'd like to have more people, but they are accustomed to other ways;
We can't get enough teachers now, so how could we handle more kids?
If people were only committed today like when we were younger.
Declining membership for many churches, according to Lyle Schaller, is
because "most churches are located where people were but are not now; and they
need to relocate to where people are." In short ...
If churches have no sense of mission, death is already knocking.
If churches have not music in their life, or joy in their soul, who wants to
If churches only get any warm body they can get to preach, or the cheapest
sermon-seller instead of a trained minister, in order to survive, they won't! (Being a
church is so much more than being a preaching station!)
These are not easy days for churches and clergy. Some churches are being
torn apart; clergy are struggling in these changing times. There are no magic
solutions or easy guarantees; churches are to be accepting communities of good
news, and clergy to call the church to be faithful in mission.
The good news we have is the eternal message of death and resurrection.
There are churches who "turn the corner and turn it around." More are realizing
that mission is the source of their future, and that those who live only in isolation
and to themselves, have no future. In the United Church of Christ, "the basic unit of
church life is the local church," and through our covenantal ties, the mission of
Jesus' Church comes alive everywhere when it's alive in your church. The
Conference, as churches together, exists to help churches respond to the calling of
Christ for their future. So, "your church does have a future, if ..."
Not too Late for Make A Difference Campaign!
As you may know, the official, phased "Make-A-Difference" campaign ends
with the April-June phase (the general appeal to all members). Even so, did you
know that you can still have a campaign and have your church counted? One
person will remain on the campaign staff in Cleveland through June 1995. So you
can have a campaign this summer, this fall, or this winter! And still be counted!
To date, we have commitments in the SEC of over $213,000 toward our
Challenge Goal of $250,000 (having exceeded our Basic Goal of $125,000!)
Remember, if we reach the Challenge Goal of $250,000, one half will come back
to our Conference. The churches which have thus far reported no participation
could easily put us beyond the Challenge Goal!
Here is the urgent thing: if your congregation is going to participate, PLEASE,
immediately, fill in a Covenant form, indicating when you plan to campaign and
your hoped-for goal and mail it to the Cleveland office. This goal, please
understand, is not a church pledge for which your church will be billed. But it will
help the national office to know where things stand in the national picture. And it
will allow your church to be counted, even though the final phase is over. The
Covenant form was mailed to all pastors some time ago. If you can't find it, let me
know and I will mail you one. Don't hesitate to call me if you need further
Be amongst those who are making a difference as the United Church of
Christ moves toward the awesome challenges of the soon-to-dawn new century!
John R. Lackey
SEC Campaign Director
Theme for UCC, Southeast Conference Women's
Retreat— "She Has Done What She Could ..."
All of us need a chance to stop and allow ourselves to be renewed and
enriched for our work in the world. Join with other women from the Southeast
Conference for a fall retreat to be held at the Shocco Springs Conference Center in
Talladega, Alabama, October 7-9, 1994.
The Keynote speaker will be Rev. Helen Bruch Pearson, a minister of the
United Church of Christ and a member of Central Congregational UCC in Atlanta.
She is Dean for Community Life at Candler School of Theology, Emory University,
and author of Do What You Have the Power to Do: Studies of Six New Testament
Women, and has written many articles and curriculum studies as well.
Cost of this retreat will be $56 to $86, depending on your housing choice.
Registration forms are available from your church office, from the
Conference office, from Rev. Joyce Myers-Brown at 404-876-2421 or from Martha
Lammers, registrar, at 61 5-277-3386.
Our rivers are below flood state, our houses have been
scraped out and now we wait ... UCC AT WORK
Recently, Lester and I represented you at the Interfaith Flood Relief Meeting
in Perry, Georgia. The American Red Cross, Georgia Emergency Management
Agency (EMA - the late Civil Defense), Family and Children Services, Red Cross
representative to FEMA, and United Way presented short summaries of their
expertise. I had met with the American Red Cross and phoned each of the EMA
representatives in flooded areas of Georgia. All disabling flood damages were
contained in the Middle and South Georgia areas.
The Southeast Conference is setting up a response office here at 933
Highland Terrace, Macon, Georgia, 31201-2118. Phone (912) 742-4151, FAX
number (912) 742-3984. Flood-related calls to the Macon number. Please make
checks to the SECUCC Flood Relief and send to Southeast Conference of the
United Church of Christ, 756 West Peachtree St. N.W., Atlanta, Georgia 30308.
The clean-up phase of the disaster is completed. Three weeks of drying out
is required, and is time for organizing and securing materials and/or funds. Each
"UCCer at work" can help by forming volunteer work crews and inventorying your
talents, numbers and dates available. We also need to know what kinds of
equipment/materials you may wish to donate/have for your personal use (hammers,
If you like a (working) vacation in the heart of Georgia this year, you can
contact for dates and place to work and what to bring.
Each work crew will be responsible for financing its transportation,
living/eating accommodations, clothing and labeled hand tools. Large materials are
being donated or purchased locally. The Iowa and Missouri flood relief programs
have been most generous with left over materials and/or funds.
If you have any experience in painting, drywall, plumbing, electrical,
masonry, wood work, clean-up, roofing or insulation, please consider forming a
work crew from your area and join your southern neighbors on a fun work vacation
this fall in soggy Middle Georgia. We have one volunteer retired professional. ARE
THERE OTHERS OUT THERE?
We love and appreciate each of you.
SEC — A Vital Future! The Structures Committee
What is God calling us to be and do and become here as the churches of
the SEC? That is the question behind the work of the Structures Committee, chaired
by the Rev. Truman Moore. Your participation is essential.
At the association meetings members of the Committee will present their
findings. Then each church will be asked to respond to basic questions about our
common calling as Christ's body here in the Southeast. You will receive materials
for your church discussion this fall, to be returned by December.
The results will be formulated for sharing with churches in early '95.
Contact the committee chairperson with any question or suggestions: Truman
Moore, 2424 King Arthur Circle, Atlanta 30345; (404) 934-2881 .
National UCC Responds to Local Needs
Several Alabama newspapers carried the story, "Church Women Turn Over
Grant to Russell's 'haven' for Women," and "Annex Shelter for Battered Women
Opens," and "Battered Women's Shelter Expands in Russell County."
Prompting these articles was the recent $2,000 donation presented to the
Russell County (AL) Shelter for Battered Women which was given by the United
Church of Christ Coordinating Center for Women in Church and Society.
Presenting the check was Harvetta Barr, president of the East Alabama/West
Georgia Women's Fellowship, who applied for and received the grant from the
National UCC in Cleveland, Ohio.
**WORKSHOP** **WORKSHOP** **WORKSHOP**
MOVING BEYOND CONFLICT IN THE CHURCH
The Alabama-Tennessee Association, SEC, is presenting a workshop on
dealing constructively with conflict within the local church. Charles McCollough of
the Office for Church in Society, UCC, will lead the workshop and offer tools for
dealing creatively with conflict personally, and especially in the church.
This is an introductory series of presentations of real stories of personal and
church conflicts and how churches have successfully resolved the conflicts. In
addition to case studies and short lectures, participants will have the opportunity to
practice the skills of resolving their own conflicts on whatever level they choose to
practice. No one will be put on the spot. But everyone will be able to dig into real
issues and begin to develop skills that work so that everybody wins. Instead of
win/lose, fight/flight or attack/withdraw, you will learn skills in which everybody
gains and nobody loses.
PLACE: DuBose Conference Center, Monteagle, Tennessee
DATE: Friday evening, November 1 1, 1994 and Saturday, November
COSTS: Registration, $1 0.00; Room, $1 7.50; Meals, $1 9.00
Breakfast, $3.00; Lunch, $7.50; Dinner, $8.50
IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN THIS WORKSHOP AND WOULD LIKE FURTHER
Paula Van Natta
2208 Burningtree Drive, Decatur, AL 35603
Phone: 205-351-9269, FAX: 205-729-1089
Good Hope Congregational Christian Church
Good Hope Congregational Christian Church was organized in June of 1922
in Baker, Florida. First services were held under a brush arbor and later in the one-
room Stanley School House. The present church was built in the early '40s and is
located on Highway 4, seven miles west of Baker and some thirty-seven miles from
Fort Walton Beach. A Christian Endeavor Society was organized in 1925 and was
successful in raising funds to buy the first piano-style organ for the church. Address
for the church is Route 1 , Box 1 95, Baker, FL 32531 .
Called to Care ...
RESPONDING TO HATE GROUPS
Remember Leo Frank?
COULD IT HAPPEN TODAY? WHAT WOULD YOU DO?
Who are Hate Groups? How can your church respond when they come to your
community? Want answers? Lively discussion?
Then join us and a representative from the Center for Democratic Renewal.
We'll look at activities of the Klan, Christian identity, Aryan Youth, white
supremacists, homophobia, and the resources/responses available.
Saturday, October 22nd, 1994
Pilgrimage UCC, Marietta, Georgia
To receive an information brochure, call Houston Wheeler at (404) 624-
Sponsored by the GA-SC Association Social Justice Committee.
"THE NEW CENTURY HYMNAL"
You all may recall how joyfully we sang at the Conference Annual Meeting
at Cullman, singing from The New Century Hymnal sampler. Mrs. Elizabeth Rice,
music director at Central Congregational Church in Atlanta, attended the National
UCC meeting of the United Church Board for Homeland Ministries to train
someone from each conference on the use of the new hymnal.
Liz is available to come, or arrange for, singing from the Hymnal at the
association meetings. Please contact her soon, at Central Church, 2676 Clairmont
Road N.E., Atlanta, GA 30329. Phone (404) 633-4505. Ms. Joyce Johnson of
Spelman College and First Congregational, Atlanta, was on the Hymnal Committee
and is available also for introduction of the music.
Liz would also be interested in developing a workshop for church music
leaders, musicians and pastors. Let her know of your interest.
Youth Coordinator — Tim Klein
With great excitement, Ms. Yubenia Prigmore, Christian Education
Commission Chairperson, announced the appointment of Mr. Tim Klein as SEC
Youth Coordinator beginning September 1 for one year. This position is funded by
Visions '91 funds.
Tim comes highly qualified, and is presently Youth Minister at St. John's
UCC, Cullman, Alabama.
CHURCH & PEOPLE NOTES
After being "commissioned" on Sunday, August 28th, Dick and Trudy Braun
will leave for a mission assignment in Nepal. They will work with the staff of a
UCC-sponsored mission hospital for six months. From Nepal, they will go to Africa
to revisit their former mission home in Ghana.
Herb Young, Langdale (AL), resigned to accept a call to North Carolina.
Jim Smalley was called to Nashville, First, beginning in August.
Rodney Franklin, Mt. Zion UCC, Cleveland, OH, was called to Birmingham,
First, beginning in November.
Robert Warden left Waverly (TN) UCC.
Barbara Embry left Alpine (AL), King's Chapel.
Hubert Terry left Robbins Parish in Tennessee.
Robert Sherard retired from Savannah, First.
Barry Mick has been called as associate, Trinity, Jonesboro.
Maureen Jenci-Shelton resigned at Center Church, Atlanta, to assume a full-
Don Nelson has been called to Center Church.
Roger Vonland is serving East Tallassee (AL) Church.
Susan Newman was called to Atlanta, First.
HOLY LAND TOURS, 1994 & 1995
Travel With an Added Dimension
Holy Land Tour
Departing from Atlanta, Georgia
November 12-22, 1994
For educational opportunities and world travel with a purpose, contact Rev. Fred
Mills, P.O. Box 6, LaGrange College, LaGrange, GA 30240. Phone: (706) 884-
Sponsored by Church Growth and Development Committee, East Alabama-West
Georgia Association, SEC, UCC
Deadline is September 12th.
Can't Go That Soon?
Then you may want to plan for a
HOLY LAND PILGRIMAGE
February 6-16, 1995. Tour leaders are Rev. Karl K. and Jan Whiteman, First
United Church, UCC, Belvidere, TN.
For more information call (615) 967-0380 or write Rev. Whiteman at 4071 Owl
Hollow Road, Belvidere, TN 37306-2611.
The UCC Nominating Committee seeks names of persons active in the
United Church of Christ who would serve responsible on the Directorate of various
instrumentalities and agencies of the UCC. Please suggest names, with biographical
information, to the Southeast Conference Nominating Committee, c/o the
Conference Minister. All data and names must be received by November 1, 1994
at the Conference Office.
CONFERENCE CALENDAR, 1994-5
Sep. 9-10 AL/TN Association Meeting, Belvidere
Sep. 1 6-1 7 GA/SC Association Annual Meeting, Savannah
Sep. 23-24 Board of Directors Meeting
Oct. 1 SoAL/NVVFL Association Annual Meeting
Oct. 7-9 Southeast Women's Retreat, Shocco Springs, AL
Oct. 1 5 EALAA/GA Association Annual Meeting, Oak Grove,
Oct. 22 Responding to Hate Groups Seminary, Marietta, GA
Nov. 11-12 Moving Beyond Conflict Workshop, Monteagle, TN
Nov. 18-19 All-Conference Program Planning Event
Apr. 28-30 Mini-Camp, Laguna Beach, FL
THE SOUTHEAST NEWS
Published by the Southeast Conference
United Church of Christ
Conference Minister, Roger D. Knight
Associate Conference Minister, Mitchell C. Johnson
Office Administrator, Rhonda Fowler
Moderator, Richard Sales
Vice Moderator, Annie Neal
Secretary, Jan Whiteman
Treasurer, Lester Ariail
Alabama-Tennessee Association Moderator, William (Bill) Chew
East Alabama-West Georgia Association Moderator, Jimmy Pilkington
Georgia-South Carolina Association Moderator, Roger Vonland
South Alabama-Northwest Florida Association Moderator, Jim Courtney
Publication schedule: February, May, August, October, December
Editor, Shirley W. Bowen
(404) 607-1993 (phone)
(404) 607-7939 (FAX)
Mail news and other material to:
Shirley W. Bowen
P.O. Box 340
Franklin, GA 30217
The preceding was a transcription from the original publication, except for
photographs and associated captions. Neither the original nor the transcription
are copyrighted or have rights reserved; they are in the public domain for free
use. Copies of the original may be obtained from the Southeast Conference office.
This transcription was recorded on September 19, 2013 by Mike Stroud, director
of Project 66-1 6, an initiative to record, compile and write the history of the
Southeast Conference of the United Church of Christ.